Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Full Review

Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Full Review  - The Leica M10 is the latest rangefinder to join Leica's legendary M-System line-up but does it live up to the famous name? Read our full review.

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Leica M10 in Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera



Leica M10 Black (2)

The Leica M10 is a beautiful blend of Leica analogue heritage and digital innovation. Leica is actually in their 11th year of constructing the digital M-Camera and they actively listen to photographers for feedback so their cameras are continuously improving. This latest rangefinder has the thinnest body of any digital Leica M camera, 4mm thinner than the Leica M (Typ 240), a large viewfinder which those who are fans of street photography will appreciate and a new ISO speed dial. There are plenty of other features well worth talking about so sit down, pull up a chair and come with us as we take our first look at the new Leica M10. 

Leica M10 Features

Leica M10 (11)

The Leica M10 is Leica's latest digital rangefinder, and features a new internal design, that has enabled a more compact camera body, that is as thin as a Leica film rangefinder, at 33.7mm thick.

The Lecia M10 is a rangefinder camera which means you get a wider view than the lens sees so you can essentially see a picture opportunity approaching, making it a perfect tool for street photography. The M10 is also the smallest full-frame system available (including lens and camera) which, again, makes it particularly good for street photography where discretion and size are important. While we're discussing plus points of the M10 it's worth mentioning that it supports all Leica M lenses right from 1956 onwards. 

Leica M4 Vs M10 Width Image From Leica
Leica M4 Vs M10 Width - Image Courtesy Leica 

New features found on the Leica M10 include an ISO speed dial which features ISO stops in full increments and a 24 megapixel sensor, unique to Leica, which offers significantly improved noise performance (which Leica say gives a 2 stop improvement). As already mentioned, the M10 is very slim and this is down to the sensor circuit board and camera circuit board now appearing on the same plane rather than stacked. The ISO range available on the camera is from ISO100 to ISO50,000.

The viewfinder on the Lecia M10 gives a 30% larger field of view when compared with past M-system cameras and 0.73x magnification which on the M240 was 0.68x, and on analogue M cameras 0.72x. The M10 can use the same EVF as the T system (Visoflex Typ 020 2.4mp with GPS built-in). 

Leica M10 7

Inside the M10 is the same Leica Maestro II image processor found in the Leica Q, Leica SL and Leica S. The camera has 2GB of buffer memory and the M10 is capable capturing 5fps at full resolution when using continuous shooting, resulting in 30 DNG files or 100 JPEGs. 

Two stops forward, One stop back

Wi-Fi is built in for remote control from a smartphone, but video fans will be disappointed as there is no video function and no USB port. For those who do want to shoot video, Leica suggests you look at the Leica SL. The M10 also supports DNG RAW files which means you can edit images on the go with Lightroom Mobile.

The ISO range is greatly expanded compared to previous Leica M cameras, the camera can now shoot at 5fps, and there is built-in Wi-Fi for the first time in a Leica M camera. There is also live-view, however, there is no video recording. Here we compare the Leica M10 to the preview Leica M cameras. Leica has now moved away from the somewhat confusing "Typ 240" numbering system for camera versions.

  Max ISO Continuous shooting Video Live-View OVF Wi-Fi Announced
Leica M10 ISO50,000 5fps No Yes 0.73x Yes 2017
Leica M-D (Typ 262) (No screen) ISO6,400 3fps No No 0.68x No 2016
Leica M (Typ 262) ISO6,400 3fps No No 0.68x No 2015
Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) ISO25,000 3.6fps FullHD Yes 0.68x No 2015
Leica M-P (Typ 240) ISO6,400 3fps FullHD Yes 0.68x No 2014
Leica M (Typ 240) ISO6,400 3.7fps FullHD Yes 0.68x No 2012


Additional accessories include a handgrip with different finger options, a Leica thumb support, new dioptre correction lenses, a stepping ring, holster, pouch and leather half-case with removable screen protector. 

Leica M10 15

Key Features

  • 24 megapixel Full-Frame CMOS sensor
  • Leica M Mount
  • 0.73x magnification optical viewfinder
  • 3inch screen, 1036K pixels, with scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass
  • ISO100 (Base ISO) to ISO50,000
  • AdobeDNG raw
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • No video recording
  • Weather-sealed full-metal, magnesium alloy chassis
  • Live-view with Focus peaking 
  • Available in black or silver and black

Leica M10 Handling

Leica M10 17

As you'd expect from a Leica, the M10 is well built and has the distinctive Leica styling that makes them so recognisable. The top plate is constructed from solid brass and the body is made from a full-metal magnesium alloy chassis. The Corning Gorilla Glass featured on the screen is scratch resistant and the camera features rubber seals to protect it against light rain and dust. 

Buttons have been simplified so you now just have three: live view, playback and menu (the M240 had 6 buttons) and there's a programmable favourite menu to give quick access to specific functions. A firmware update, released shortly after the M10 was announced, improved handling and access to settings. You also have direct access to essential functions and if you use the M-App, you can share images, use your smartphone as a remote control and adjust various options without having to touch the camera. 

Leica M10 (4)

The camera feels extremely well built and in your hand, the aperture and focus fall into the perfect spot when holding the camera with two hands. The limited number of buttons on the back of the camera doesn't appear to be an issue, as you don't really need to access the menus much, with the main shooting controls on the outside of the camera. When you do want to access the menus, these are clear and by using the favourites menu you can quickly setup your favourite options (for example white balance, manual ISO, etc). 

The viewfinder is large and bright, giving a clear view of the scene and the guidelines automatically adjust depending on what lens is used. When using live view, the view automatically displays a magnified view when you turn the focus ring on the lens and focus peaking helps with focus thanks to the bright lines around objects when they are in focus.

Leica M10 ISO Dial 1

The new ISO dial on the top left of the camera gives full stops so you can select the ISO speed manually. You can also put this in the A (Auto) position or M (Manual), where you can set the ISO speed using the camera menus - you'll need to do this if you want to shoot at the higher ISO speeds not on the dial. You can also set the ISO range available for Auto ISO as well. The dial is locked into place when it is pushed down and you need to pull it up in order to turn the dial - this is so you don't accidentally turn it when it is in your bag. The dial is quite firmly in position when down and it took a while to get used to pulling this up - using two fingers is the best method here. 

It's worth mentioning that switching over to a rangefinder, and more importantly, manual focus can be tricky for many and as a result, there will most likely be a number of shots that are out of focus. This is down to the combination of using a bright Leica lens and a full-frame sensor where focus, or rather correct focus, is critical. Over time, with practice, or the use of live-view this should improve.

Leica M10 Black (3)

For anyone familiar with using rangefinders, the more compact size of the M10, along with additional external controls, will be welcome. The screen also looks great and works well outdoors. If you already have a digital Leica M camera, then it's worth noting the M10 uses a new slimmer battery. Battery life is said to be around 210 shots, however, we managed to get slightly more than this before we needed to charge the battery again.

Leica M10 (9)



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Photographs taken using the Leica M10

Morning Snow on the canalCanalside TreesLucy portrait, Botanic Gardens

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Comments


22 Jan 2017 9:24PM
Nice looking piece of engineering....but nearly 6 grand...!! not on my shopping list sadly..
anyway...does it REALLY produce better results than less costly offerings..? good luck to those with "Leica" budgets...

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UKMike2013 6 20 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2017 10:43AM
Lovely camera - although the comment about some "photographers" not being able to focus a rangefinder camera shows how automation has removed some of the basic operational skills.
On reflection, I found that something of a sad statement - to some extent I feel that the apparatus shouldn't get in the way of the creativity, but on the other hand it feels a little like going hiking and not knowing how to tie your bootlaces. I must be getting old!
As for the Leica if I could afford one I would buy one without a doubt.
3 Feb 2017 1:06AM
At that price I would hide the red dot for street photos!
But I dream to get that M10!
joshwa Plus
8 853 United Kingdom
28 Mar 2017 3:51PM
Full review now live
29 Mar 2017 11:35AM
Its the pleasure that comes from owning such an icon that I guess spurs the desire ... they are beautifully crafted but I wonder if the images produced really are so much better than say an almost identical Panasonic. I still have my Leica D Lux 4 (in Safari Green) and take it everywhere where a larger camera would be too heavy or cumbersome. The images it produces still satisfy but that might well be the placebo effect. .
banehawi Plus
14 1.9k 3935 Canada
29 Mar 2017 5:30PM
Ridiculously priced niche product for the well heeled. As good or better performance available for much, much less.

BTW, there are no aperture values shown on the sample pics Joshwa?
franken Plus
16 4.7k 4 United Kingdom
29 Mar 2017 5:51PM
You pay for the badge really. Better performing cameras can be found for much less.
pablophotographer 7 991 336
30 Mar 2017 4:21PM
If you have the money and the beloved offspring to pass it on later... go for it.
If your pictures suck though... you won't be able to blame the camera, haha.
31 Mar 2017 9:55AM
Just try Fuji any model X10, X100 ,XE1,XE2 XT1/2 all offer fabulous images. It is only a pride of possession. I had M2 set R4 with lenses all are sold to an antique collecter. Passing it on to next GEN is meaningless as digital way is ever changing. Esp in Megapexil war
themak 5 1.0k Scotland
31 Mar 2017 2:03PM
Ah, but you couldn't use a Fuji to drive fenceposts.
oldblokeh 7 1.2k United Kingdom
31 Mar 2017 5:46PM
They're having a laugh, surely. 120 for an extra eyepiece lens to correct for your eyesight, something that other manufacturers build in as standard to their viewfinders. Moreover, I wonder what proportion of these will still be working in 25 years time, compared with their mechanical ancestors. In that respect, I can't see them being a sensble investment from a collector's perspective.

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